Cycling Across America:
Inspiration and Planning
I have been biking for the past eighteen years. A series of events in my personal life lead me to take up biking: the sudden, unexpected death of my mother, the need for physical rehabilitation after knee surgery, and...my 40th birthday.
Several years into my bicycling hobby, I agreed to join the Great River Ride, a fundraising event sponsored by American Lung Association of Minnesota (ALAMN). Riders covered 150 miles over 3 days and traced a path through the bluff country of Southeastern Minnesota, all the while raising money for a worthy cause. After that ride, I was hooked on bike treks. The lure of a long ride is hard for me to describe. It certainly is an exhausting physical task; but the days and hours on a bike have proved rewarding as well. I have spent hours with nothing before me but pavement, and nothing around me but inspiring scenery. It is on these long rides that I feel a reconnection with myself and my creator.
I have come to see my participation in that first ALAMN ride as a turning point, one which spurred me to continue biking and at the same time, to join a cause. At the time of that first ride, the Lung Association’s motto was “Healthy Air, Healthy Lungs, Healthy People.” This motto resonated with me, and in the early 1990s I became a member of the Board of Directors for the ALAMN. In July of 2002 I was elected president of that board.
It was in 2002 that I also retired from corporate life. Heeding the advice of friends and colleagues, I set several personal goals which I hoped would help me with that often difficult life transition. First of all, I planned to bring balance back to my life by spending more time with family and friends. I also wanted to continue my volunteer with work ALAMN. In addition, I agreed to volunteer with the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Business. Another goal was to develop a means to offer my years of experience in investment management to interested parties. And lastly, I planned to do a really long bike ride—one that would take me across the whole of the contiguous United States.
This last goal has fallen nicely into place as two of my “bicycling buddies” have agreed to join me in a cross-country trek. Since we are “older” and perhaps not as dedicated to daily training as we should be, our group of three has decided to break the cross-country trek into two parts: the first will begin in Seattle and end in Minneapolis during the summer of 2004; the second will start in Minneapolis and end in Maine during the summer of 2005.
Looking to the future, I have decided that the end of my role as President of ALAMN should coincide with the beginning of my cross-country bike trek in 2004. As I push off from the Pacific Coast, it seems fitting to recognize the organization that started me down the road so many years ago. In order to help me express my gratitude and unending support for ALAMN, I have chosen to make my cross-country bike trek a fund-raiding event. To that end, Lakeview Investment Advisors will match a portion of each donation to ALAMN from each trek sponsor.
Since that first bike trek I took so many years ago, the National American Lung Association’s motto has changed. Today’s motto calls out an important truth: “When you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.” Surely, I will come to know the full meaning of this statement as I ride my bike over the Rockies, across the Great Plains, around the Great Lakes, and through the industrial cities of the East Coast. But I believe all of us, whether on a bike or not, can certainly appreciate the value of clean air and healthy lives.
For additional information about supporting ALAMN, visit their Web site at: www.alamn.gift-planning.org